19.03.2014

A CONICET scientist was honored as one of the five outstanding scientists in the world during 2013

Cecilia Bouzat was honored with the International L' Oréal - UNESCO Award "For Women in Science" for his scientific career.

A CONICET scientist was honored as one of the five outstanding scientists in the world during 2013

Cecilia Bouzat (Photo: CONICET).

The award is given per year to distinguish the scientific excellence of five female researchers worldwide and Bouzat was honored for her work in Latin America. The scientist has worked since 1997 at the Institute for Biochemical Research of Bahia Blanca (INIBIBB, CONICET- UNS) in a research of Cys -loop receptors found in the nervous system, muscle and neuronal cells.

What it is like to receive the distinction to your career?

It was an incredible joy and great honor to receive the L' Oréal - Unesco award. It is the most important distinction in my career and it is an extension to the L'Oréal - CONICET Argentina award granted in 2007. As every prize, it is enjoyed but at the same time it generates a new responsibility and a commitment to keep working and doing good science.

When did you become interested in science?

My interest in science began at school. I liked biology and everything related to natural and biomedical sciences but I realized it was my vocation in the second or third year of university. As a student I was interested in molecular processes. Right now, I am researching the mechanisms basis of proteins forming cells.

What is your line of research?

In our laboratory we work to understand how the Cys -loop receptors work, which are membrane proteins with key roles in the nervous system, particularly because they participate in the synapse and allow rapid communication between neurons or between neurons and muscle function. Therefore, we study how drugs and compounds may modify its operation.

Why is it important to understand these Cys -loop receptors?

It is important because many diseases are altered, poor treated or mutated. Understanding them will help to think much more effective therapies for a host of neurological disorders and to generate a rational development of drugs reversing the abnormal operation. For example, we studied neuronal nicotinic receptors in which its alteration is associated with diseases such as Alzheimer, Parkinson and Schizophrenia.

In your opinion, what is the role of women in science?

Science needs women as much as men. According to statistics there are more women in lower positions and less in strategic categories. While this situation is changing, much work remains to be done. The scientific career is very difficult for women when forming a family, women make an extra effort to spend time with their children and meet the demanding tasks of research, it is therefore important to provide plans and projects to help women.

How do you see the scientific development in the country?

In Argentina, there was openness to society and strong support to research in recent years. We have very good scientists and dedicated people. Working in science in Argentina has been unstable throughout history. Currently a hierarchy with the creation of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation is noted, as well as a greater increase of researchers, scholars and subsidies. However, when working in science it is notable that financial and human resources are limited and new equipment, new methodologies and strategies are required. It is important that we bear in mind these needs.

Profile

Cecilia Bouzat is a principal researcher of the CONICET and the vice director of the Institute of Biochemical Research of Bahia Blanca (INIBIBB) in Argentina. She is a professor at the National University of the South in Bahia Blanca, where she studied and received a degree and PhD in Biochemical Sciences. In 1993 she did a post doctorate at the Mayo Clinic, of Rochester, United States. In 2007 she won the Research Fellowship L' Oréal -UNESCO For Women in Science in Argentina.

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Cecilia Bouzat (Photo: CONICET).

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